Friday, November 28, 2008

3 days in November.

(caution--enormo media dump below...)

And what excellent days they were.

Moobs flew in from the land of cheese and picked up Pissboy en route to Dysfunction Junction. After a short sleep we three loaded up and drove to Moabistan to fetch The Fred.

Though our eventual objective was to camp and ride due east of Hurrikin, we spent the day following The Fred's tracks around on the Bull Canyon trail system.

And some fun, beauteous tracks they were.

Hard to believe these trails have existed for almost two years and this is my first exposure to them.Hope to be back several times the next few months.

We finished our abbreviated loop as darkness fell, then loaded up again and drove. Pissboy and I have known each other since college and it was fun to fall back into the juvenile banter routine as we motored SW through the evening. Moobs and The Fred arrived at the motel about 25 minutes after we did, likely delayed by Moobs' inability to snarf deep fat fried food while exceeding the speed limit.

Up late the next AM we were met in the parking lot by two future Alaskan adventurers.
They ushered us around a singletrack loop that could have taken *much* less time to ride.

What can I say--fast ain't the only way to roll, and we sure had a fun day soaking up the sun, the laughs, the company, and getting some decent still shots and helmet cam footage along the way.

Pissboy on Goulds.

Pissboy on upper JEM.

JEM wash.

Still more JEM. What can I say--it is a fast, fun, floaty and flowy trail, and I thought the helmet-cam perspective might be cool. I don't think I was wrong...

DH on Upper Hurrikin Rim. I fumbled lots trying to get the camera rolling to start this clip, with the result that DH got out ahead and I had to rally to catch him. Once I regained his wheel things slowed down and rolled smoothly for several minutes of mini-chunk.

Pissboy on Hurrikin Rim.

Dinner was white-bread mexican (can't expect much when in Hurrikin...) followed by good conversation and some most excellent jokes from Moobs and Pissboy. Then we drove a bit more to camp atop Gooseberry Mecca. I mean 'Mesa'. Gawd I enjoy riding up there. Depending on your mood it can be fast and flowy, faster and flowier, slow and chunky, super slow and chunky/droppy, or any variation on all of those themes.

Because I've been riding there several times a year for about a decade I've come to know some of the more subtle nuances to the place. And because I've been riding with (read: getting flogged by) Pissboy for about 18 years I couldn't restrain myself from pointing out every little move along the way. 90% of me simply wanted him to see and appreciate the uniqueness of the place so that I wouldn't have to work so hard to convince him to return. The other 10% of me wanted to see him outside of his comfort zone, a place that *I've* gotten very familiar with when riding with him.

I succeeded at both, though early on I may have pushed a bit hard on the 10% part...

He saw most of the moves before I could even point them out, and spent a bit of time considering each of them before acting, or not. The resultant slow pace didn't register at all with Pissypants, but Moobs and his Fredness along with CGR quickly bored of that game and went in search of their own flow.

Left to our own devices, we used 'em. And had a blast.

Mid-day I experienced a JRA mechanical of the oddest variety: a sheared front derailleur.

The irony was that I hadn't used it once all day, nor did I miss it once it was gone.

But Goose is an odd place in the west--where a granny gear is truly superfluous.

Around lunch-thirty the Flow Riders found us while removing my front der,

then we spent the remaining hours before sunset exploring several nooks and crannies along the W and N ends of The Mesa.

Sometimes 'exploring' is done in situ...

Other times it requires slow, deliberate movement.

In the waning moments of direct sunlight we came into a slickrock play area.

Seconds after that we came above a steep roller that requires maximum commitment and always quickens my pulse just looking at it.

Pissboy took a long hard gander, backed up, paused, rolled forward and looked again, muttered something indecipherable, backed up, paused again, then rolled forward again and looked hard. If nothing else I loved that it had him a little gripped.

Ultimately he did what he always does--executed the move as smoothly as though he'd done it many times before.

Same move, different rider, different camera angle.

As the sun set we snarfed road food, packed up, and started motoring our way home for the holiday. Great times gang--I'd jump at the chance to do it all again tomorrow.


Thursday, November 20, 2008


Two pics herein--both from tonight's finished-after-sunset ride.

Last week I received news that a high school sweetheart had passed away at the way too young age of 38. There isn't much of an upshot to the story--she'd fought cancer for the better part of a decade, and left behind 4 young kids and a grieving husband and extended family.

Although I hadn't seen her in ~18 years, the news hit hard. Harder than it used to. As I age and my friends and family do the same, the frequency of receiving 'news' like this increases. But instead of becoming accustomed or adapted to it I seem to be going the opposite direction. Each time it hits a little harder and a little closer.

Perhaps that's the way it's s'posed to be for the lucky among us--a little at a time so as not to be completely devastating?

Then, just a few days later, some combination of factors led to B, E, and I descending a local (very exposed) section of tech trail on our bikes. We rounded a corner near the bottom and there in the trail was a hysterical woman trying to find her dog. With a little coercion we were able to learn that her dog had gone over the edge. If you've been on this trail you don't even need to look over the edge to know what the eventual outcome of falling there would be. We all scrambled searching down the talus slope and B was first to spot the dog. She was alive and conscious when he got to her, though barely, and after a few tense minutes we all agreed that getting her to a vet ASAP beat the heck out of any other alternative. We took turns carrying her back up the steep, techy trail, her owner frantically and hysterically apologizing to anyone that'd listen. The pitch of the trail and the weight of the dog meant that we had to spell each other on the way up. I took first shift, then E, then B. Almost to the top B handed her off to me one last time, and as I came within sight of the owner's car I felt the dog tense up momentarily and then go limp. Tears welling in my eyes and hyperventilating as I rushed her up the hill, I couldn't bear to linger long enough to find out if what I was sure had just happened actually had. We bade the woman (and her family) good luck and they sped off to find an ER vet.

The mood at the start of today's ride was light but quickly dropped to melancholy. A very young and very good friend of the Doc was just told that his cancer is terminal. 2 toddlers and a wife shortly to be left behind.

What's it all mean? What's it all for? Why are we born to die? Why do some go so soon, especially those that seem to merit a longer existence? Am I next? If not, why not?

I don't even know the right questions yet, much less where to start groping for answers. Far more educated and articulate scholars have failed miserably in their quest to answer the above.

I do know this: Death cannot be related to a certain number or order of demerits in life--if it was then Heather should have been among the last to go.

In the absence of appropriate questions or answers I only know to go on. I don't see much point in living poorly or regretfully, which leaves the option of living fully and enjoying what I have as long as I have it.

Going upstairs to hug the family now. Not that I don't do that several times a day anyway, but if they were given to introspection they might notice being held a little tighter and a little longer tonight.